Importance of Cultural Immersion for Children Learning Spanish
Latin American families are often related to familism.
If your children are learning Spanish, this ideology can give more meaning to their learning experience.
You will also realize that cultural immersion is very important in bilingualism, as it has many advantages when learning a second language.
Exposing your children to new experiences and traditions from other countries will bring them endless benefits.
Keep reading to find out about the importance of cultural immersion for children who are learning Spanish.
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What Is Cultural Immersion?
Cultural immersion is one of the best ways to learn a new language.
With this technique, your kids, and maybe even the whole family, will interact with native-speaking Spanish people and their culture.
By being in constant contact with the language and culture, your kids will understand the identity, traditions, and routines of Spanish-speaking communities, at least partly.
With cultural immersion, kids will be able to learn cultures, traditions, idioms, and accents from more than 20 countries in the world.
And if your children want to speak a specific type of Spanish, they can choose teachers from that same place.
That way, they can combine textbooks with genuine conversation and real expressions of a specific culture.
With immersive learning, they will acquire language skills faster since they’ll notice their mistakes and correct them in real-time.
Plus, it’s a great way to build a solid foundation in the language through experiences they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
Familism: A Core Value for Hispanic Cultures
Experts note that “familism” is a cultural value normally seen in Hispanic or Latino families.
Familism focuses on promoting loyalty, union, and obedience within the family.
This tradition dictates norms, expectations, and beliefs about the family.
According to a study called The Protective Role of Familism in the Lives of Latino Adolescents, the main characteristic is subjugation. People who practice familism often put the family’s needs before individual needs.
Families that use this parenting style are expected to have higher levels of loyalty, obligations, and responsibilities than families that don’t practice familism.
Respect and obedience towards authority figures within the family, such as grandparents, parents, uncles, etc., are other important factors of familism.
This value is fundamental for Hispanic and Latino families since children and adolescents who adopt familism are less prone to show signs of depression, excel academically, have fewer behavioral issues, etc.
Importance of Family in Hispanic Culture and Their Values
Most Latinos are close to their relatives. They tend to be part of large groups; many live together to keep family ties strong.
This is not limited to the family. Latinos consider friends as relatives, as they’re part of their everyday lives.
When watching Latino movies, we realize this bond that is so characteristic of Latinos. Family is the center of Latin American societies.
Moreover, children and teenagers often receive values passed down from generation to generation.
Do you see why family is so important to them?
Support and security are other essential values of Latino families.
Latinos constantly help their relatives when they are sick, when they need a place to sleep, or even lend them money when necessary.
Good manners and formality are also crucial to Latino families.
In most Latino homes, children are taught to be polite at all times and show respect to those around them.
They are taught to finish the food on their plate, to say thank you, please, and God bless you. In addition, Latino children are expected to be silent in church, etc.
Values combined with a positive parenting style make building a solid family foundation possible. This bond is also fed by traditions such as eating together.
We can all learn from Latino families, don’t you think?
Cultural Immersion Experiences
Now, let’s look at some experiences that can grant you a top-notch cultural immersion.
Studying in another country will help your kids plunge head-first into another culture.
This will help them see things from a new perspective. Eventually, they’ll be able to tackle situations not as a foreigner but as a community member.
Additionally, they will strengthen their critical skills as well as develop empathy. They will even learn to appreciate the differences between cultures.
These skills are becoming increasingly important in jobs and academia.
Latino Food and Markets
Food is an essential aspect of any culture.
Also, in the US, we’re surrounded by restaurants from every corner of the world.
Here’s an idea: if you go to a Mexican restaurant, try to place an order in Spanish. Then, you can search online for the ingredients and cook the dish at home.
You can also go with your family to shops owned by Latin American people. Encourage your children to ask for the prices of fruits and vegetables in Spanish.
This activity will help them experience a new culture without leaving the country.
Latino Art and Entertainment
We can understand a lot about a new culture through its art.
When it comes to Spanish, you can enroll in salsa classes with your children.
Movies, music, and tv shows in Spanish will help your kids identify different accents and learn the idioms of several countries.
You can even visit a local museum and look for art from the Americas. Then, ask your kids to tell you what they saw in Spanish.
This type of cultural immersion will teach your children about the history and current artistic expressions of Latin America.
From Frida Kahlo to Selena, Latin America has birthed some fantastic artists!
Benefits of Cultural Immersion
We know that it can be challenging at first. But the sooner your kids experience cultural immersion, the faster they’ll reach fluency.
This methodology will force your children to focus on their communication skills. They will know when to use words and sentences naturally.
Cultural immersion will also help your children develop confidence. And what does this look like?
Well, they will take risks, make mistakes and learn from them without a problem.
Just think about how this will affect their brain and cognitive skills!
Last but not least, cultural immersion will help your kids have a deeper understanding and appreciation of Spanish culture, increasing their empathy and tolerance towards Latin American communities.
Tips to Incorporate Cultural Immersion into Your Children’s Language Learning
It is important that everyone at home gets involved in immersive cultural activities when children are learning Spanish.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the language. Reinforcing at home will help them as they use what they have learned in other settings.
Here are some tips you can use at home:
Language and culture are interconnected, so with that in mind, you can watch Latin American films or documentaries. Then ask them questions in Spanish about the movie you just watched. But, remember, they have to answer in Spanish too.
Create Cultural Experiences
We share the country with millions of Latinos, so we bet it won’t be hard to find Latino communities that celebrate unique holidays.
Try to approach these communities. Expose your children to their activities. For example, think of Día de los muertos or each country’s Independence Day, etc.
This will make them feel more connected to the language they are learning. Eventually, they’ll be able to join a larger global community.
For a richer experience, we suggest you look for resources that people in Spanish-speaking countries use.
You can look for videos, music, photos, or media from the country or community your kid wants to know about.
Label Your Home
Your children spend most of their time at home. So, to expand their vocabulary, you can put labels in Spanish on objects in your house.
There’s no need to label every single thing. You can start with the kitchen today and move to the living room the following week.
Classes With Native Spanish Speaking Teacher
Learning Spanish with a native-speaking teacher is one of the best ways to achieve cultural immersion. After all, native Spanish teachers know about Latino foods, idioms, traditions, and even jokes.
This knowledge will make the classes more exciting, fun, and interesting.
We recommend you register here for Homeschool Spanish Academy’s free trial class with our fantastic group of native Spanish speakers.
Your Kids Can Start Speaking Spanish Today!
Now that you have all the information you need about cultural immersion, you’re ready to try it at home.
Although the values of other cultures are different from ours, if we apply them to our lifestyle, they may surprise us in a positive way.
As we learned in this article, the best way to learn Spanish is through direct contact with the culture and native-speaker teachers.
Remember to sign up your kids for a free trial class with our professional native teachers.
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